It’s time to get back to the work! Next week I’ll be traveling with a team of volunteers to Maunabo, Puerto Rico. While there, we will help to improve the home of Don Wilman and Abigail. Let’s meet this family!
Don Wilman and his wife Abigail inherited their home from Abigail’s parents. They shared the home with their adult daughter and their granddaughter. But when Hurricane Maria struck as a category 5 storm, their lives were forever changed.
Abigail recounts those terrifying 48 hours while their family endured:
We “believed that the house was falling on us but there was nowhere for us to go. We couldn’t leave my husband [bedridden following knee surgery] alone. The hurricanes destroyed the doors and several windows, the walls and ceiling cracked.”
“It was a horrible day and night. Our granddaughter was screaming. My husband was motionless. I couldn’t breathe.”
Once the storm passed, more problems arose. “My daughter and my brothers looked everywhere for somewhere we could shelter. There was no electricity for the therapies I [asthma] or my granddaughter [kidney disease] needed. It was very distressing. Then came the mold and the moisture on the walls. We did not qualify for housing aid because our house belonged to my parents. We did not have the resources to repair it as we wanted. We already had a lot of medical bills. Those increased following the hurricane.” Abigail recounted her experience.
She added, “We cried constantly.”
In order to seek medical treatment, Abigails daughter and granddaughter left Puerto Rico for the mainland of the US. Soon after, Abigail and Don Wilman followed because their house was no longer habitable. Depression threatened to consume them until they found an opportunity for assistance from The Fuller Center for Housing – Puerto Rico.
Our team is excited to assist Don Wilman and Abigail achieve their dream of returning to their family home in Puerto Rico. Over the course of our week on the island, we will break down some walls in order to convert it to a larger, handicapped accessible home with two rooms. We will repair doors and install new windows, build a closet and a ramp for accessibility, change the entrance, and upgrade the electrical system. We will also rebuild the kitchen, plaster, and paint.
Stay tuned for a post-build update on our progress!
*Thank you to the Fuller Center for Housing and the Fuller Center – Puerto Rico for providing information and photos used in this story!